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eBay Deal Prices: Fiction/Mistake/Misleading?

By Chris Dawson July 18, 2013 - 10:06 pm

We love a bargain on Tamebay. We’re also pretty fond of sitting out in the garden and it’s not the first time in the last few weeks I’ve written about comfy sun loungers on eBay deals. Being a Thursday I have had my normal browse around the new weekly deals that have just gone live and sadly all is not well.

Sun LoungerFirst up we have a fantastic Rocking Sun Lounger. Just my type of chair, lazy days in the garden here I come and eBay have not one but two of these products on this week’s deals.

One’s the star item daily deal and the price is great with the . The other is on a weekly deal so has longer to run and this .

You will of course notice that these listings are from two different sellers, but they’re both using manufacturer product shots – different image but same deck so we’re pretty convinced it’s the identical product. The thing is check out the RRPs, on one eBay deal listing the RRP is £99.99 and on the other it’s £124.99 – that’s a difference of £25 but obviously a discount of 56% sounds more attractive than a discount of 45%.

Dream HammockHow could this be? The disparity in RRP of two identical products on eBay on the same day? Well we were only looking at one page of the eBay Daily Deals – the and we spotted another great chair for the garden, this time hammock style with an umbrella shade.

We thought that the price on this was pretty impressive too, from the £249.99 recommended retail price. In truth we preferred the competing listing for the same , although this time it was a mammoth 67% off the RRP of £399.99. Yes somehow the same product for sale on the same day on the same eBay deals page with a recommended retail price £150.00 higher.

Parasol BaseBy this time we couldn’t resist another glance up and down the deals page for garden furniture and found another gem, not an incorrect/misleading/totally made up/error in the RRP though. This time it’s a seller using a common but misguided ruse when stocks run out. Some sellers don’t want their listing to end in the mistaken belief that they’ll hold their position in eBay Best Match so they hike the price so that no one will purchase their last item.

This of course looks stupid to buyers at the best of times, but when you’re on the eBay Daily Deals you really shouldn’t be advertising a £270.99 price with an RRP of £24.99. When you’ve just sold a load at £16.99 hiking the price to £270.99 for the last item looks like a really bad deal.

Think about it – you want to hold your place in Best Match, so you have your product at a price no one will buy. You’re probably at the top of Best Match so your item gets a ton of page views. eBay measure your listing by the ratio of views to sales. By the time you get more stock in you’ve got zillions of views and no sales and your Best Match placement is shot to pieces.

If you let your listing end eBay remember your Best Match score on the relist but your listing isn’t weighed down with a zillion views that didn’t generate a single sale. If you’re expecting more stock within days let your listing end and relist. If you’re not expecting stock within days there’s no point holding the listing live anyway.

Quite frankly it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this tactic counted as search and browse manipulation and could get you seller performance strikes, but at best it’s misguided. Of course if it’s an eBay deal it’s also highly visible.

So the result of our browsing, we wouldn’t buy a parasol base for £270.99 even if we wanted one. We quite fancy the £54.99 Rocking Sun Lounger but are not sure how much we’d really save and we definitely want the Dream Hammock but would much rather have 67% off £399.99 than pay 40% off £249.99.

  • James
    4 years ago

    Much like Groupon, Ebay constantly make up the RRP.

    Some sellers have this function on their listings. How do we get this on ours?

    • 4 years ago

      Generally only eBay enterprise sellers (Outlets) get access to the RRP strike through pricing feature.

  • 4 years ago

    eBay impose/enforce policies only when it suits THEM. My pal had his entire listings pulled this week for having the temerity to say he’d prefer cheque payment.
    Lunatic pricing is equally prevalent on Amazon – especially books.
    peter210

  • 4 years ago

    Just to clarify, eBay don’t input the RRP, when you sign up to strike through pricing there is a strict and formal agreement to sign. The seller inputs the RRP/Previously sold at pricing. John

  • Maciej Wiankowski
    4 years ago

    Yup, it’s sellers who taking all responsibility for the RRPs displayed on eBay.

    On the other hand whole “deal factor” in eBay deals is long time gone.

    Spatulas for £5??

    12pc dinner set RRP£70 – sale price £70??

    • 4 years ago

      Sellers might take responsibility for RRPs displayed on eBay… but you’d think eBay would cast an eye over the deals and at least think “Hey we’ve got the same product twice with two different RRPs!”

  • james
    4 years ago

    You would think the seller took responsibility for the RRP etc; on the many times i’ve applied for the daily deal i ensure that all RRP’s are correct and up to date, and discounts are an appropriate reflection.

    – I’ve also had eBay just throw some of our listings on the deal without so much as telling us, let alone asking, and TOTALLY messing up the RRP’s, especially with multi-variation listings.

    I had to write to them asking for an explanation, as if any customer complained i have no doubt eBay would be swift to turn around and blame me.

    i dont want to complain about being featured on the daily deal, but if they’re advertising my products with a splash banner of £800 RRP on a bedside table, which i wouldnt dream of charging for it, i’m just sitting waiting on the complaints rolling in.

  • unitedmufc
    4 years ago

    The only sellers allowed to use daily deals is Act mgrs. RRP is a trusted service, that can prove the RRP

  • 4 years ago

    I understand your reasoning on best match but I don’t completely agree on it.

    You are right that eBay does punish you for being seen in search and then nobody is going to buy your product if you are 10x the RRP. However best match is ranked by what eBay deems makes you relevant. If your price is 10x everyone else best match by its own definition should not surface you in the results which will leave your score intact since nobody will seeing it anyway. This is only true in the case where there is a lot of competition. But If there is no competition then it doesn’t really hurt because you’ll still be seen anyway when your price drops.

    eBay remembers your score for 7 days. After that you forfeit it if you don’t relist. Giving up possibly years of hard work simply because it is going to take longer than a week to restock and to avoid offending buyers who aren’t even your buyers seems really dumb in my opinion.

    Finally you say it should count as search and browse manipulation. It doesn’t. However you also have advocated from Tamebay that sellers should start their listings out at artificially low prices and accept best offers in an attempt to jump start their sales so they rise in best match. I can’t help but think that is far more manipulative towards search than what these sellers are doing. Both are perfectly valid strategies and not against any rules.

    Finally eBay is doing away with the need for this tactic altogether. I noticed you haven’t mentioned it yet so you might not be aware. eBay didn’t exactly broadcast this but it was announced in a seldom read part of the site. I plan to take advantage of this very soon as it removes the biggest complaint my sellers have had for the past 5 years.

  • 4 years ago

    You’re neglecting to consider the value of someone who has thousands of an item at a fairly good price vs an individual or small company who only has a handful of items at a lower price.

    Your suggestions as to canceling Fixed Price listings via price increase to reserve search status is interesting.

    I think I’ll do a statistical and factual comparison of these two methods across a few different line items to see what’s really the best decision.

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